The Business Case for Prevention and Control of Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States and account for nearly 40% of all deaths.1 For employers, the costs related to heart disease and stroke are significant, with four of the top ten most costly health conditions being high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and chest pain. 2 Furthermore, employees at high risk for heart disease and stroke have significantly higher medical expenses (228% for heart disease and 85% for stroke) than employees not at risk for these conditions.3
Comprehensive worksite health management programs, which utilize health promotion, risk factor assessment and management, and disease management strategies, are effective at reducing employee health risks, and generate $3-$6 savings on medical costs for every $1 spent. 4-6 Worksite health management programs have also been effective in helping employees control blood pressure and cholesterol while also decreasing the related health care expenses associated with those conditions.7
There are numerous organizations and resources to help employers get started. The Maine Cardiovascular Health Program provides tools, resources and links that foster use of best practice, systematic approaches to worksite health promotion for Maine employers.
Healthy Maine Works is an online tool that guides employers in developing worksite wellness programs. It offers assessment tools to establish health related priorities, provides detailed recommendations for new programs, and allows users to sort and prioritize activities and create wellness action plans which can be downloaded or printed. To get started using Healthy Maine Works, please contact your local Healthy Maine Partnership.
The Good Work Resource Kit provides information on the link between a healthy worksite and the bottom line, key elements of successful worksite programs, specific low or no-cost strategies from a variety of Maine employers, and resources to support worksite wellness initiatives.
Also visit, Worksite Resources, which provides helpful links to tools and information related to worksite wellness.
1 American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics: 2005 Update. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; 2005.
2 Goetzel RZ, Hawkins K, Ozminkowski RJ, Wang S. Top 10 physical conditions and related medical costs to employers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2003 Jan; 45(1):5-14.
3 Goetzel RZ, Anderson, DR, Whitmer RW, et al. The relationship between modifiable health risks and health care expenditures: an analysis of the multi-employer HERO health risk and cost database. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 1998 Oct; 40(10):843-854.
4 Chapman L. Meta-evaluation of worksite health promotion economic return studies. Art of Health Promotion Newsletter. 2003 Jan/Feb; 6(6):1-10.
5 Heaney C, Goetzel RA. A review of health-related outcomes of multi-component worksite health promotion programs. American Journal of Health Promotion. 1997 Mar-Apr; 11(4):290-307.
6 Aldana S. Financial impact of health promotion programs: a comprehensive review of the literature. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2001; 15:296-320.
7 Goetzel RZ, Kahr TY, Aldana SG, Kenny GM. An evaluation of Duke University’s Live for Life Health Promotion Program and its impact on employee health. American Journal of Health Promotion. 1996;10(5):340-342.